How to Treat a Child’s Fever

How to Treat a Child’s Fever – courtesy of Dr. Alanna Levine. I had an opportunity to interview Dr. Alanna Levine about how to treat a child’s fever as well as discuss some common misconceptions parents have about treatment. Dr. Alanna Levine is a board certified pediatrician and mom of two young children. Dr. Levine has appeared on NBC’s TODAY Show, CBS’s The Early Show, FOX News, CNN Headline News, as well as many other national and local TV and radio stations across the country.

How to Treat a Child’s Fever

Lisa LaGrou of Oakland County Moms –  There’s something about a fever that sends parents into another stage of worry. How concerned should parents be if their child gets a fever?

Dr. Alanna Levine – So many parents absolutely panic when their child has a fever. What I want them to understand is that fever is the body’s natural response to fighting an infection; it serves a purpose; it helps your body fight off bad germs; and, that the goal in treating the fever is really to make your child feel more comfortable and provide relief, more than to bring that temperature to normal on the thermometer.

Lisa LaGrou of Oakland County Moms –  Parents try everything for how to treat a child’s fever. What are some of the misconceptions you’ve seen that result in mismanagement of their child’s fever?

Dr. Alanna Levine – It’s important for parents to make sure they know how to properly dose the medication. And actually, in a new survey done by Children’s Advil, we found that many parents are still basing medication on their child’s age instead of the child’s weight and weight is really the preferred method. So, every time you go to your pediatrician’s office, your child is weighed. Write down your child’s weight so that when your child gets sick, you’ll know what medication to give. We also found that many parents are giving adult over the counter medications to their children. And, I really want to caution parents against doing this. You want to use chidren’s medication for children, unless it’s been specifically recommended by your pedicatrician.

Lisa LaGrou of Oakland County Moms –  Now that we’re touching on meds, what is the best choice for medication to help alleviate fever symptoms?

Dr. Alanna Levine – When choosing a medication for your child, I recommend products that contain Ibuprofen, like Children’s Advil because it can last up to eight hours with just one dose of medication. That’s a long amount of time that your child is getting relief.

Lisa LaGrou of Oakland County Moms –  When should you decide to use medication for how to treat a child’s fever?

Dr. Alanna Levine – The time to use medication is when your child is not feeling well. I typically will tell my patients that if you have a child with a 102 fever that is happy, running around, playful, eating and drinking… that’s less worrisome to me than a child who has a 101 and just sitting on the couch not wanting to do anything. So in an instance where your child seems to be uncomfortable, it’s interfering with their daily activities/daily play, that’s a time when you want to give the fever reducting medication. And if they don’t improve from the fever reducing medication, that’s when you want to call your pediatrician.

Lisa LaGrou of Oakland County Moms – That leads me to my next question, when should a parent call a doctor or go to the emergency room with a feverish child?

Dr. Alanna Levine – When to call your doctor will depend on how old your child is. If you have a young child under three months of age, that has a fever or 100 or higher, you want to be sure to touch base with your pediatrician. For older children if they have a higher fever, or if the fever has asted a long time (more than 3-4 days), it’s a good idea to talk to your pediatrician. But no matter what your child’s temp is, if you have a child that is acting sick, is lethargic, is dehydrated, just doesn’t look right to you…we want to hear from you.

Lisa LaGrou of Oakland County Moms – What other remedies should parents try for a child’s fever aside from medication?

Dr. Alanna Levine – In addition to using the emergency medications or as an alternative to using those medications, you can also draw a bath for your child. I usually say to start with a regular temperature bath so it’s not a shock to your child’s system. Put them in the bath and let some cool water sort of run in slowly and it will gently bring the temperature of the water dowm and it will also bring your child’s temperature down, too.

Lisa LaGrou of Oakland County Moms – It seems as though a fever rises in the middle of the night. Can this be harmful or serious – and should parents wake their children to administer medication during the night or provide some other type of treatment?

Dr. Alanna Levine – It’s very common for a fever to go up as the day goes on and actually peak in the middle of the night which can be really scary for a lot of parents. So generally my advice is, if your child is sleeping and you happen to go in there and check on them and they’re comfortably sleeping but you feel their forehead and they’re warm, you don’t have to wake that child up to give the fever reducing medicine. Remember the goal of treating that fever with the medicine is to make your child feel comfortable. BUt a sleeping, comfortable child is already comfortable. That being said, if you have a child who wakes up because they can’t sleep, they’re achy, they’re complaining, that’s a child you want to give the medication to make them feel more comfortable and provide the relief they need.

Lisa LaGrou of Oakland County Moms – So, basically, if a child’s fever is bad enough, the child is just going to wake up?

Dr. Alanna Levine – Generally, when the fevers are really high and it’s causing discomfort to them, they are going to wake up, yes.

Originally Posted 2011.

For more info on how to treat a child’s fever, visit www.alannalevinemd.com

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